Weekly unemployment claims have probably peaked this cycle. However, initial claims still remain stubbornly high.

Here is the Weekly Unemployment Claims Report for the week ending October 17, 2009.

In the week ending Oct. 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 531,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 520,000. The 4-week moving average was 532,250, a decrease of 750 from the previous week’s revised average of 533,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.5 percent for the week ending Oct. 10, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s revised rate of 4.6 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Oct. 10 was 5,923,000, a decrease of 98,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 6,021,000. The 4-week moving average was 6,030,750, a decrease of 59,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 6,090,000.

To smooth out weekly noise, most look at the 4-Week Moving Average of Initial Claims.

Initial Claims 4-Week Moving Average

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In the last recession, unemployment continued to rise until weekly claims dropped stayed 400,000. This recession things might be worse because of rampant retail overcapacity, and no housing boom to look forward to.

Continuing Claims

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Although everyone is watching initial claims, continuing claims help fill in the details. Once people lose a job, they are staying out of work longer than any time in history, even population adjusted.

Bear in mind the above chart is understated. It does not reflect extended benefits, Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or those who have simply expired all benefits.

Please see Dismal Unemployment Situation In Chart Form written August 6, for details. I will see if I can get an update that includes extended benefits and emergency compensation.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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